Brian Cox’s Denier Takedown: a High Point for Climate Journalism

Many have enjoyed the smackdown which Brian Cox delivered to Malcom Rogers on Australian TV’s program “Q&A”. Myself included. Cox is a scientist, and one of the most popular science communicators in Britain (perhaps England’s answer to Neil deGrasse Tyson?). Roberts is a politician, a senator no less, in Australia. He’s also a climate denier.

But not everybody is happy about it. Deniers, for instance, are livid — mainly because it makes them all look bad. How dare Brian Cox have responded to senator Rogers’ crap about temperature by showing a graph of global temperature! How dare he have suggested that NASA, NOAA, and the Hadley Centre/Climate research unit have more credibility than politician Malcom Rogers, who seems to get his “information” from none other than Steve Goddard? How could one possibly trick Rogers into admitting that he thinks all those scientific organizations are engaged in a world-wide conspiracy to make up global warming? How dare the audience laugh out loud at Rogers?

I’m not at all surprised deniers are unhappy about it.

But there’s a reaction from Climate Change News which I don’t understand, and don’t agree with. They seem to think that Australian TV did us all a disservice by having their show turn into a contest between scientist and denier. They lament that the show didn’t spend its time focusing on specifics, what course we should take, or the consequences of Australia’s undermining their own Bureau of Meteorology.

Of course there needs to be more discussion of policy specifics. But in my opinion, that discussion will never be as useful as it should be until deniers are thrown out of politics. With senators like Australia’s Malcolm Rogers and America’s James Inhofe doing their best to paralyze action, lengthy intellectual discussion of the subtleties of policy choices gets us nowhere.

What we most need to do is to ridicule politicians who are climate deniers, so much and so often, that when they open their mouths to spew their bullshit they are met with laughter. Laughed off the stage. Laughed the hell out of politics. When we get rid of them, maybe then we can have important discussions about policy specifics, discussions that can improve our response to the danger of man-made climate change.

As long as Malcolm Rogers and Jim Inhofe get their way, our response to the danger will be: no response. Step 1 is to vote the deniers out of office. A crucial, indispensible part of achieving that is to show the world just how ridiculous they are. And by “ridiculous” I mean “worthy of ridicule.”

And if we get a few good laughs in the process, all the better. Thank you, Brian Cox.

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76 responses to “Brian Cox’s Denier Takedown: a High Point for Climate Journalism

  1. Just so:

    And climate denialism is the enemy of everyone. (Even denialists.)

  2. They lament that the show didn’t spend its time focusing on specifics

    But it did. Cox focussed on the global warming record which denialists like Roberts deny. Roberts denies that there is the global warming that the GISTemp record shown by Cox shows. If this specific is not dealt with then every other “specific” is just moving deck chairs.

  3. lengthy intellectual discussion of the subtleties of policy choices gets us nowhere

    Of course, Roberts is an elected representative of an anti-intellectual political party, One Nation, so any sort of intellectual discussion with representatives of that party is completely pointless. As you point out, the only way to deal with anti-intellectual politicians is ridicule.

  4. What we most need to do is to ridicule politicians who are climate deniers, so much and so often, that when they open their mouths to spew their bullshit they are met with laughter. Laughed off the stage. Laughed the hell out of politics.

    I agree. I wish another senator had had the foresight to bring a colorful clown wig and red nose for Inhofe’s snowball stunt in the U.S. Senate floor. “Hey, Jim! You forgot your costume!” would have been a suitable rejoinder.

  5. I particularly liked the way deniers were angered by the fact that Cox had printed out a plot of the global temperature anomaly record to respond to Roberts. “The fix was in” and “It was a setup” were some of their remarks, as I recall.

    When you consistently rely on a half dozen idiotic and false talking points, why be surprised if your opponent shows up prepared for them?

    • Perhaps it’s challenging for some of them to imagine that actually listening to your opponent is an option?

    • “It was a setup”

      Roberts and his supporters have an incredible lack of self-awareness and hypocrisy when you read the ridiculous hypocritical remarks that Roberts makes:

      They avoid discussing facts and rely on pictures of cute smiling dolphins.

      According to the angry deniers, Cow was supposed to “rely on pictures of cute smiling dolphins” and not do a setup and go off script by “discussing facts” like putting up a graph of global average temperature anomaly.

    • Deniers are funny. They expect to be allowed to tell the most blatant lies without anyone pulling them up. When someone has the facts (in the shape of a graph) at their fingertips, they cry foul.

      On a recent episode of Q&A another right wing ratbag called Alan Jones said, “Wind power is about $1,502 a kilowatt hour”. Yep, just tell an outrageous lie in the hope that people will believe you.

  6. Amusing. However, the commentary by Graham Woods, and the comment thread below it, highlights a very important point: the deniers deny out of their abject fear of the consequences of accepting reality. E.g.: “…deep ecology manifesto. Believers in this want to take civilisation back into the 1700s at least…” as part of a sneer at the push renewable energy.

    Well, the fact is, the deniers are right on that point: the level and quality of energy available from solar, wind, etc. is simply incapable of replacing coal/oil/gas (especially liquid forms) in a quantity sufficient to maintain anything close to our current civilization’s metabolism. Until we as a species bring this knowledge deeply into our conversation, our policy debates will continue to be contaminated by nonsensical exchanges like you have highlighted in this post.

    [Response: Just because there’s not enough renewable to replace fossil fuels now, doesn’t mean there never will be. That’s a foolish implication. And the exchange I have highlighted serves the useful purpose of making policy debates beneficial. Have all the policy debate you want; until we transform policy into action we get nowhere, and that requires removing deniers from positions of authority. Thank goodness Brian Cox helped with that.]

    It is quit possible, if not likely, that 7 or 8 or whatever billion people the growth curve is aiming for (cf., constitute a significant overshoot of the planet’s ability to sustain the majority of them in anything resembling a reasonable quality of life.

    Yes, “population” is not “climate”, but they are inextricably linked issues.

    • Mark Jacobson and the Solutions project show that your assertions that wind and solar cannot power our civilization are incorrect. A combination of renewable energy methods, primarily wind and solar with storage for calm nights, can power all the countries of the world. Jacobson’s papers have hundreds of citations by other power engineers who also think renewables can power the world.

      Jacobson won the Cozzarelli prize for best paper in the PNAS for his paper on the grid required for an all renewable energy system.

      Your pessimistic attitude contributes to deniers success. By going full out with wind and solar, technologies that currently are the cheapest form of energy in most parts of the world, the carbon pollution problem can be solved.

      Many people who are concerned about AGW are not aware of Jacobson’s analysis of renewable energy. Perhaps Tamino could post an article about his work.

      Plan for 100% of all power for the USA (all power, not just all electricity):
      Cozzarelli Prize:

      • Michael Sweet: Jacobson’s work is junk science. I have spent enough time on it to know it deserves as much ridicule as deniers.

        PNAS should be embarrassed to have ever published a word of Jacobson’s nonsense.

      • Not much ‘there’ there in those links from louploup. The first is a bit of rather vague ‘he said, he said’, the second is a simple summary of Jacobson. On to some of ll’s real bibliography. Tally ho!

      • louploup2,
        The responses to Jacobson et al (2015) you present do not come anywhere close to presenting it as the “nonsense” you brand it as. You say you have spent time on this paper. Can you not then provide a better account of your appraisal?
        In my view, Jacobson et al (2015) is a most encouraging paper because it suggests that there is a route to solving the climate emissions for the worst offending nation. If that is possible, solving the rest of the world should be child’s play given how stark the difference is between US carbon pollution & everybody else, as suggested by this graphic (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’).

      • [for some reason there is no ‘reply’ on Al Rogers post, so I had to go back up the thread].

        I would agree that Jacobsen is not ‘nonsense’ – it’s an important paper, but it contains some truly heroic assumptions, and there are serious problems with the conclusions people draw from it. It demonstrates that there is enough renewable energy available and that extraction is physically possible. But it doesn’t tell you much useful about the time-spread or costs of that extraction. Knowing that there is enough energy, but 90% of it is in the summer, when you live at a high lattitude and want 80% of it in winter, for example, is not a very useful answer. Some would say it’s not an answer at all. Or that you could use this energy source, but with known engineering techniques it would cost £40,000/MWh rather than £40/MWh. Again, not actually much use, even in a severely climate-affected world.

        This is the well-known problem that Mearns and co have been banging on about for years. It may not be insoluble, but really shouldn’t be underestimated, and has significant implications for costs and timescales (if you need stuff that’s not yet available, if could be a long time before you can have it at a price that makes it useful, and time matters here).

        Too many people just count the total energy and don’t do the temporal sums, or other constraints: i.e. the actual engineering. They also gloss over the implied tradeoffs sometimes, such as large-scale hydropower being both very green indeed, and massive ecological vandalism at the same time, for example. You can make a very good case that more nuclear power is much less ecologically damaging than massive hydropower on new rivers, as another example.

        As Doc Snow says below, this debate too often degenerates to ‘circular firing squads’ between fans of different solutions. Jacobsen, as a cheerleader of the ‘renewables only’ faction, is guilty of fanning those flames. That would be OK if we were reasonably sure that it would actually work, but there’s plenty of reasons to think that it won’t, or at least not fast enough and not completely enough. More convincing evaluations are needed, or just less tribalism.

      • Wookey,

        Have you read Jacobson’s papers? He has a plan for Alaska that does not include bringing in any power from outside Alaska’s borders. (For many states it would be cheaper to bring in power from say, the Mid-West, which has the best wind). It would be hard to get farther North. He documents that renewable power will be cheaper than fossil fuels. If you want to challenge his calculations you can, but simply claiming that he did not do the math is incorrect.

        Jacobson has also calculated how much materials are needed to be used to manufacture the generators required. Please provide a peer reviewed citation that shows his errors.

        Doc: I agree. Not much “there” there.

    • Graham Woods has also published an open letter to Brian Cox in the right wing journal Quadrant (
      In a typical contrarian ploy he argues that the 3% should have been represented and gives Bob Carter as a candidate to face off Professor Cox. Someone should tell him that Carter died earlier this year.

    • Comments pointing out that my citations regarding Jacobson (not Jacobsen) are superficial. It’s a point well taken. I did not spend the time to retrieve more solid counters to Jacobson’s (and colleagues’) publications because 1) I had little time at that moment (not much now either), and 2) I don’t think Jacobson’s energy work is credible enough to warrant the effort. On point 2, I think many experts in the field agree Jacobson’s work is not worth the time to rebut. For example, from :

      Michael Briggs wrote: “as a physicist focused on energy research, I find this paper so absurdly poorly done that it is borderline irresponsible. There are so many mistakes, it would take hours of typing to point out all of the problems. the fact that Scientific American publishes something so poorly done does not speak well of the journal.”

      An article in the NYTimes contains links to some back and forth in the journals between Jacobson et al. and their critics. Remember that peer review is itself a form of “he said/she said.”

      Feel free to read up and come to your own conclusions. Personally, I think “nonsense” is a pretty accurate assessment of Jacobson’s basic theme, but in light of Wookey’s good comment I retract it and paraphrase Wookey’s summary: Jacobson’s work is useless for purposes of solving energy supply constraints.

      My generic conclusion about work like Jacobson’s is based on systems analysis: A supply side solution will not solve a demand side problem.

      • loupyloo 2,
        It is so good to hear that your response to comment above was because (1) You were in a rush and (2) You were convinced you were right.
        So we can conclude that you are a prime prat (which is evident because of (1) & (2) above, this of course in systemic terms). Mind, my view of your understanding of systems analysis suggest that branding you a “prat” is a somewhat of glowing compliment.

      • Do you have anything to say in response to what I’ve posted other than to call me a butthead? Your prior response to me—which I acknowledged was accurate insofar as I hadn’t produced much content myself—at least has a link to a graph, irrelevant as it is.

      • louploup2.
        Indeed I do have comment but I felt that you should experience the equivalent of what you yourself were dishing-up by way of a response in this thread.
        Your second bite at a response is little better than your first. You cut-&-paste (or link to) a few comments that berate papers by Jacobson (& a co-authors) but these papers are not the same Jacobson et al (2015) ‘Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar for all purposes’ which you were discussing previously. Rather you are linking to comment addressing Jacobson et al (2013) ‘Low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of intermittent wind, water, and solar for all purposes’ (this the paper originally set before you by Michael Sweet above) or Jacobson & Delucchi (2011)‘Providing all global energy with wind, water and solar power,’ Part 1 and Part 2.
        Your inability to cope with an author having more than one publication is a tiny bit worrying.

        The assertion you present here is that mankind’s energy requirements cannot be met by carbon-free technology. Indeed, if you scale that requirement as being equal to seven billion folk each needing a 2016 US energy fix year-on-year; if so providing a renewable solution is going to be very challenging. Yet, as the graph I presented up-thread (which you consider as irrelevant) amply demonstrates, the US energy fix is quite exceptional. An all-renewable energy supply, when coupled to energy efficiencies and with a population cooperating with mitigation measures rather than fighting them (so burning lorry-loads of coal on your back lawn is not the done thing any more), an all-renewable energy supply is not some sci-fi proposition as you & Wookey brand it but it is eminently do-able.
        The criticisms faced by an all-renewable energy supply are often no more than a misunderstanding of the concept of ‘base-load’ or mere expressions of frustration that favoured alternative types of energy supply will not be needed.

        And all solutions to any problem of whatever form are each of them a heady mix of supply-side and demand-side inputs. A systems analysis that fails to account for that truth is fooling itself.

      • Louploup2,
        Al Rodger has already responded to you. I will only add that in response to my peer reviewed article, which received a prize for best article in the PNAS in 2015, you have given me three old blog posts and an out of date NYTimes article. If this is the best you can find I think I have made my point. I trust the editors at PNAS before blog posts.

      • I had a quick look for some more substantive rebuttals of jacobsen. I didn’t find a good one for the 2015 paper immediately to hand, but this one of the original 2009 paper+ corresponding Sci Amer article is illustrative of why some people think it’s pretty shoddy: Things like including the carbon emissions of a nuclear war whilst working out the gCO2/MWh for nuclear power. That’s not sensible science, it’s propaganda.

      • Al Rodger, I never said that mankind’s energy requirements cannot be met by carbon-free technology. I said that current levels of consumption cannot be met by carbon-free technology. I agree with the point of your graph showing the gross level of consumption by U.S.

        My point is that the best available data and analyses strongly indicate that current levels of per capita consumption at the level of even the lowest “developed” countries cannot be met “carbon-free” for all 7+ billion people (including a half or even three quarters drop in the U.S.). It all depends on how you define “energy requirements” in terms of a “good life” and what “per capita level of energy consumption” is needed to obtain and sustain it. These are the questions that deniers fear to touch because (IMO) in their guts they know the gross level of consumption in many countries (U.S., Australia, and Canada are the worst as I recall) is not sustainable in the most fundamental meaning of the word.

        I also agree that both demand and supply side need to be included in any rigorous systems analysis. As Wookey points out, Jacobson’s published work is incomplete in this regard. I believe that is why his repeated publication of the same phantasmagoric analyses receives little published attention by competent scientists.

        I believe we as a species are well beyond a population that is sustainable over time (millennia). We are floating on top of a bubble of stored energy (fossil fuels) and “renewables” are simply not capable of replacing them. Sorry, no in depth research and citations. If you want my reading list on the subject, post your email.

      • Wookey,

        Discussion of nuclear is always a waste of time. The silence from Brave New Climate is deafening. It tells me what they think about Jacobson 2015.
        For those who have not read Jacobson 2009, (currently cited by approximately 740 other papers, I am sure your blog citation is more informed/sarc) I was surprised to find out that the CO2 released in a limited nuclear war is not a significant factor in evaluating nuclear power. The primary issue is the very long lead time to build out the facilities. Nuclear proponents say that these lead times can be shortened while opponents think they cannot. I think you would be more convincing if you attack a part of Jacobson’s argument that actually affects his conclusions about nuclear. The war issue is just a red herring.

      • Wookey,
        You provide a critique of Jacobson & Delucchi (2009) and the now disappeared supporting papers which were presumably an early draft of Jacobson & Delucchi (2011) (which I linked to above). I cannot accept this critique as being a “more substantive rebuttal”. Its author does not supply anything like a clinical demolition of J&D. This is no precise marksman hitting a bulls-eye or two. It is a maniac blasting of with a sawn-off shotgun and revelling in all the blood he has spilled, allegedly fatally damaging J&D when in truth the copious volumes of blood result from the maniac repeatedly shooting himself in both feet.

        Consider his first point. J&D dismiss nuclear because they say it has a large carbon footprint. The maniac finds fault with this; the nuclear carbon footprint is tiny not large. If so that’s great. J&D can then if they want add a nuclear contribution to their carbon-free calculations.

        Consider the second point. 2% of a very very big number is still a very big number. Absolutely true, but it is still just 2% which is the point being made by J&D. Other points made by the maniac are less simple to rebut but the whole critique fails anywhere to rise above the puerile.
        This critique may be “illustrative of why some people think it’s (ie J&D) pretty shoddy.” If this is so, the illustrated reason why “some people think it’s pretty shoddy” is evidently because they are total maniacs!!!

        I cannot take seriously anybody who tells me “Sorry, no in depth research and citations. If you want my reading list on the subject, post your email.” Firstly, I entirely object to the removal of this interchange from the public domain. Secondly, I am of the belief that any concept if understood adequately can be presented cogently in a few hundred words, any concept. The only reason I can see for you not being able to furnish a reasoned, evidence-based argument is because you do not understand adequately what you are talking about. (There is an element of Occham’s Broom here, but if you want others to do the cleaning to your standards, it will require some inputs from you which are presently absent.)

        Your assessment of global energy demand is more hand-waving than constructive. If “the best available data and analyses strongly indicate” something, where are they? “No … citations” is the same as ‘The dog ate my homework.!!’

        The UK (say 60m souls) consumes (2015) 137,430 ktoe/y = 0.182 TW a drop of 14% since 2005. Pro-rata for a global population that would be 21 TW (2015) with a 21% reduction by 2030 yielding 17 TW, a figure coincidentally* also the 2030 global figure Jacobson & Delucchi (2011) obtain from EIA projections. From the same source, US consumption per capita consumption (2030)(say 3000m souls) is over four-time greater than the UK per capita consumption (2030) that I project here. I strongly believe the J&D analysis greatly underestimates the potential for reduced western energy consumption.
        *The coincidence of figures arises as the EIA do not see by 2030 large reductions in energy consumption in the developed world while thay also do not see every favela & shanty town, every rural or mountain population consuming to western levels. My pro-rata calculation assumes the opposite in both cases.

      • Al Rodger: My first post made a point about one motivation for denial, fear of the consequences of less available energy with the arrival of peak fossil fuel. Tamino disputed my assertion that renewables cannot maintain the current level of human economic metabolism. In response I cited five main authors (September 13, 2016 at 10:08 pm)— Georgescu-Roegen, Smil, Odum, Bartlett, and Schramski. You and Michael Sweet chimed in citing Jacobson, and we were off into an unpleasant interaction (from my perspective).

        I have been reading the published literature on various aspects of “sustainability” for years and believe I have a pretty good handle on the issues. I have provided references to credible work supportive of my basic assertion. If you disagree, please respond with content that addresses the work I cite and the specific claims I make.

        IMO, Jacobson cites few to none of the authors with broad credibility in resource limits and the consequences of continued growth. And vice versa: look at the references in Delucchi and Jacobson’s 2011 paper. Five references to prior publications by Jacobson, but none that I can see to any publications on the larger issues raised by the authors I cite. If you see some, please bring them to my attention so I can read them. Jacobson’s citations do not reflect a thoughtful analysis of the capacity of the earth and human economic systems to shift to “100% renewable energy.”

        If you dig in to the sources Jacobson does cite, you will find points where he is clearly not hearing what the author is saying. E.g., International Energy Agency, Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 (2010) “We may indeed see an “oil-less recovery” in OECD countries, in which our economies return to positive growth without a notable pick-up in oil demand.” The assumption is we must have growth to have economic well being.

        The linkage between economic activity and energy usage is well studied. Efficiency in the face of continued growth only delays the inevitable if it is not accompanied by a cessation in aggregate demand growth. This conclusion is basic thermodynamics (and thus global warming).

        Here are a few more papers relevant to the issue of sustainability and my basic point about energy flux, economics, politics, and the inevitable end of BAU.

        Brown et al. 2013, “Macroecology meets macroeconomics: Resource scarcity and global sustainability”

        Yadvinder Malhi, 2014, “The Metabolism of a Human-Dominated Planet”

        Will Steffen et al., 2015 “The Trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration”

        Safa Motesharrei et al., 2014, “Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies”

      • The URL links in my September 18, 2016 at 5:48 am comment require removal of the ” symbol at the end, and possibly switch of https back to http. My apologies…

      • louploup2,
        Yes, to recap: Your first input into this thread was to assert that renewables were not“sufficient to maintain anything close to our current civilization’s metabolism” although you rather pull your punch with the less-than-definite rider that it “is quit possible, if not likely.” Our host responded pointing out that our present-day ‘sufficiency’ will not be the same as our future ‘sufficiency’ and Michael Sweet responded, introducing Jacobson et al (2015). You replied by dismissing Jacobson et al (2015) as “junk science” without any more than a “I have spent enough time on it to know.” I was not alone pointing out that this was an unacceptable reply from you.

        And there was a slightly earlier reply from you down-thread, your reply to our host’s in-line response & a reply which you now re-visit.
        This reply I did read at the time but was not impressed. I felt it was best ignored rather than add to the doings here with a rebuttal of it. You now raise the references you cited in that down-thread comment and are asking “If you disagree, please respond with content that addresses the work I cite and the specific claims I make.” You claim these authors of yours discuss “larger issues” but you do not explain further. I see no “larger issues” discussed by these authors. It should be beholden on you to point to their relevance, to establish here those “larger issues”, but let me assist you by first pointing to the lack of relevance that I see.

        Schrödinger could well have been the first to state that the information-based processes enacted by life-as-we-know-it-Jim creates and maintains a stonkingly high level of entropy, although it is no great revelation. There is 130,000 TW from the sun warming this planet. For mankind to capture 12 TW (our present energy use) and momentarily utilise it is neither unsustainable in principle nor breaking any thermodynamic laws.
        Georgescu-Roegen (1975) says a lot in 36 pages (including describing his poor understanding of Malthus), but his eight points which are a tad self-contradictory do not support the idea that renewables cannot wholly power mankind.
        The 2014 Op Ed by Smil does not address the ability of renewables to power mankind. Nor does it refute Jacobson & Delucchi (2008) which it only mentions. Rather Smil argues that the time for transition to new power sources/fuels has in the past required decades and suggests that reducing global-energy-use would speed a transition to renewables. He does not see such a reduction throwing mankind back to the seventeenth century. Rather, he states “Recent studies have shown that there are no insurmountable technical problems to reducing energy use by a third, both in the affluent world and in rapidly modernizing countries, notably through efficiency gains.”
        Tilly (2004) discusses the theorising of HT Odum over the previous half-century. If you see any relevance from Odum’s conceptual Laws of Energy, do say what that relevance is. I see nothing.
        Your Bartlett link appears to be saying nought more than Bartlett (1976/1998) whose grand message is that an exponentially rising use of a non-renewable resource will diminish that resource exponentially.
        And then Schramski et al (2015) compares the energy to feed mankind (ignoring energy use within food production – this is not even down-the-gullet energy but the 97W/head of energy biologically used by a human being which sums globally to about 0.6 TW); comparing it (as an annual energy use) against the energy of the planet’s stock of biomass. What isn’t quantified is the planet’s production of biomass (which is perhaps ~150 TW) which is surely a more significant figure. (Strangely the final reference Moriarty & Honnery (2016) states this biomass production as 2,000Ej/yr = 63 TW and quotes Schramski (2015) as the source. I fear this is a misrepresentation of the ~20Zj/yr = 630 TW quoted by Schramski et al as the stock of biomass (not the annual production) & sourced from Smil (2011), a paper which does actually dwell at length on global biomass production & mankind’s involvement in that process.) Myself, I would see an analysis of the various percentage of global land use as being a more useful exercise to establish sustainability of our agriculture as it is agricultural capacity that Schramski et al (2015) addresses. But I see nothing in that paper addressing the sustainability of our energy uses.
        And finally Moriarty & Honnery (2015). The title is good (‘Can renewable energy power the future?’) but after that it’s all a bit down hill. And even at face value, I see no seventeenth century.

        To sum up, was there anything in all those papers you linked to? Have I missed some vital point secreted away within these papers? If not, was there any sense in plastering this list of URLs into this thread? Will I find any more sense in the latest list of URLs you presented above? Or is it more of the same?

      • OK, Al Rodger, I’ll play one more round:

        I “pulled my punch” in an exercise of caution not to overstate the case. No prediction of the future is 100%. However, I believe the odds are close to certain that the end of this century will see a huge reduction in resource use (HANPP + mining) and energy flux attributable to human activity. That means either 1) large reductions in per capita consumption, or 2) large reductions in population (or some combination). Again, it’s basic physics.

        The larger issues that inform my conclusion above are that we are on the cusp of reduced energy input to maintain our economic activity (“civilization’s metabolism”). I have yet to see any credible work indicating how we can replace a substantial percentage of the energy flow from fossil fuels.

        Georgescu-Roegen’s fundamental work is this one but the basic point is the same: Economic activity cannot be evaluated separately from thermodynamics. The basic point is that we increase the rate of entropy production the more economic activity we have. The amount of solar energy available per unit of time is largely fixed; it is not going to increase for human purposes. (The sun will eventually expand and we’ll be out of the goldilocks zone—a billion years? half?—unless we survive long enough to figure out how to become a Kardashev Type II civilization. lol).

        Odum’s work shows how we cannot escape the limitations of energy throughput in both rate and quality. How the transformity by life of energy to higher levels of complexity has a lot to do with the systems that support us.

        Schramski does far more than compare the energy to feed mankind; the main lesson for me is the gradual, and increasingly rapid, diminishment of the complex state of energy resources (low entropy) created by life on earth over the past billion years or so. At least you raise some good questions about this work, and I thank you for that; I will continue to get others with expertise to evaluate the claims in this paper and your questions add to that effort. The question regarding the planet’s production of biomass is a good one; got a good cite for that figure of 150± TW?

        Regarding Smil, I always have questions about his data and sometimes find his sourcing difficult to trace, but his basic theme—especially that relevant to the question here (can renewables replace fossil fuels)—appears solid. It cannot.

        If you do not understand why Bartlett’s point is relevant, there is really not much point in further discussion. Are you suggesting that “exponential diminishment of resources” is irrelevant to the question (whether carbon-free renewables can replace fossil fuels)? For me this is the fundamental question. Maybe reading something less scientific will get through to you.

        So, “to recap,” you “win”; you have dismissed all my citations as irrelevant. And you accuse me of arguing from the perspective of You were convinced you were right! IMO, you are far “better” in that regard; I have yet to see much from you that evidences a curiosity and desire to learn about the serious problems we face from the perspective of limits to growth and the hard science that says so-called renewable resources cannot sustain our current civilization.

        I find your arrogance and unwillingness to contemplate others’ arguments with much grace off putting. (And yes, I’m guilty too: I still think Jacobson’s work is garbage.) If you post in response to my questions in the above, I will read them just like I’m saving your comment on Schramski in my working notes on that. Otherwise, I’m done with this exchange.

        Have a good evening.

      • louploup2.
        I hope your latest comment means you will no longer be responding to me by filling this comment thread with links to your reading list. It purely adds to the growing evidence that you do not understand their content, not a one of them. Your analysis of these works simply lacks rigour.

        Consider the first two references in the list of links you so valiantly re-post above. You set the second reference against the first saying the second sets out “The assumption is we must have growth to have economic well being” while the second ignores such a requirement.
        It is, of course, proper to set out why a reference is being cited. Here we are for once informed why you present this second reference. Indeed, when a reference is a large document (This second reference of yours IEA (2010)‘Energy Technology Perspectives 2010: Scenarios & Strategies to 2050’ is undoubtedly large as it stretches to 710 pages), knowing the reasons for referencing such a bulky document is essential.
        And well done you!! The quote you provide from the first page of the Forward by IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka is seemingly* borne out by the document as a whole. The IEA are proposing that economic growth continues in future years, setting out the values of this growth in Appendix 1 with no change in growth forecasts for either scenario (BAU or BLUE). (It is perhaps more clearly set out in Tables 8.2, 9.3 & 10.2.)
        Where your citation of the IEA is rather less ‘well done’ is that contrary to your assertions, establishing such a finding does not impact on the arguments of Jacobson & Delucchi (2011). You assert that Jacobson (sic) “is clearly not hearing what the author(ie the IEA) is saying.” This is not correct. Jacobson & Delucchi (2011) adopt a 2010-2030 increase in BAU end-user power from EIA (note, not the IEA) of 36% which is seemingly* greater than the comparative IEA increase. The WWS scenario of Jacobson & Delucchi (2011) adopts lower end-user power 2030 solely because “the direct use of electricity, for example, for heating or electric motors, is considerably more efficient than is fuel combustion in the same application.” The underlying growth assumed by EIA remains within Jacobson & Delucchi (2011). Your “clearly-not-hearing” assertion is not substantiated.
        And there is also a second ‘less well done’ consequence to your citing IEA (2008). This paper contradicts your central assertion. Its concluding message is:-

        “In short, the most vital message of ETP 2010 is that an energy technology revolution(meaning a ‘low-carbon energy future’) is within reach. Achieving it will stretch the capacities of all energy-sector stakeholders and entail substantial upfront costs, but over the long term these will be more than offset by the benefits.”

        You may quibble over the exact definition of what the two papers define by a ‘low-carbon energy future’ but such argument does not lead to your position that no such future is possible without returning mankind to the realities of the seventeenth century. And do note how dramatic such a return would be. Quoting Edmund Burke (who would be defining a life of “drudge” with an eighteenth century perspective) “In a misery of this sort … nine parts in ten of the whole race of mankind drudge through life.”
        (*I have not read this lengthy IEA reference, just dipped into it on a ‘find-&-report’ mission.)

        I am aware that I present a less-than-welcoming persona to you on this thread. You shouldn’t be surprised by this treatment. You tell me it is Jacobson who is “clearly not hearing what the author is saying.” That is the wrong name you affix. Look up-thread. It is not Jacobson. It is you, louploup2, who is clearly oblivious to the words of others.
        Why should I bother tippity-tapping out these responses to you when you entirely ignore what I write, what anybody writes.
        Your “larger issue” you describe above as ” I have yet to see any credible work indicating how we can replace a substantial percentage of the energy flow from fossil fuels.” It is odd that you then reference such ‘incredible’ works that do “indicate how we can replace a substantial percentage of the energy flow from fossil fuels.” That 2014 OpEd from Smil. That 2010 IEA report. Both referenced by you in this thread. Both “indicate how we can replace a substantial percentage of the energy flow from fossil fuels.” So you apparently also brand them as ‘incredible’!!!

        The two questions you raise in the comment are quite trivial.
        Firstly FFs are non-renewable. Their depletion, be it exponential or otherwise, is a one-way street leading to a dead-end. Once renewable power is the norm, there is no dead-end. And if you go all doom-laden because of there being a limit to available renewable power, do remember Thomas Malthus whose grand limit on population growth was (like the predictions of Karl Marx) smashed asunder by modern (ie 1840s) technology. History can repeat itself.
        Your second question concerning global NPP; the numbers in Emil (2011) (I linked to above. See page 622.) yields a figure of 150Gt(C)/yr = 5.25Zj/yr = 166 TW. Wikipedia gives a value of 100Gt(C)/yr = 111 TW. The 150 TW I quoted was a sort-of rough weighted average.

      • This has been an interesting sub-thread, and I think illuminates one of the conflicts that exists among the ‘concerned.’

        louploup2 seems to belong, more or less, to the ‘simple living’ crowd, which tends to see things through a lens that I might simplistically label ‘sustainability now!’ Ted Trainer is a well-known exemplar:

        In general, the POV is that you can’t solve the current crisis without radical social change. Hence the need to ‘debunk’ renewable energy as a drop-in, ‘plug and play’ solution–not so much that RE is bad, per se, as that the whole premise is that there can be no such solution, whatever it may be. Our friend ‘Nemesis’ would seem, more or less, to be in that basket (which I by no means deplore, I hasten to add).

        However, I’m more of a pragmatist. My POV is that the peaceable kingdom is not going to arrive anytime soon, and in the meantime we’d damn well better get our emissions under control–or it never will arrive at all, because civilization (as we know it, or otherwise) is at serious risk of collapse. From perspective, RE needs to be encouraged, not ‘debunked.’ (Especially not with outdated BS memes!–something I’m not accusing anyone in particular of, though it’s something I have often enough encountered in the past.) RE, or rather its rapid deployment, now on a global scale, is the brightest spot on the horizon. It’s proving far more affordable and scalable than would have been guessed even a few years ago, and has already made a significant difference in emissions at the national level (though not, sadly, in the global level–yet).

        So, as is often the case, there seem to be different questions in play. One is, “Can RE salvage current OECD lifestyles for the globe as a whole?” (“Quite possibly not,” I would answer, FWIW.) Another is, “Can RE provide a low-carbon energy ‘backbone technology’ over the next half-century, sufficient to significantly mitigate climate impacts enough to open a pathway to a truly sustainable society in the future?” And the answer to that question appears to me to be affirmative.

      • Thank you for your posts. While not a “follower” of Trainer I have indeed come across his work. I agree with Trainer’s position (and stated as much in my posts above) that we cannot solve our global warming problems without acknowledging that growth (increasing metabolism) cannot continue and that the current political economy cannot continue to function without growth (i.e., it’s not “sustainable”).
        Numerous scientists and others have come to the same conclusion. But it is amazing how much resistance I get when I mention “limits to growth” in almost any forum. I may not be as sophisticated as some of you regular posters here, but I am darn certain that continued growth is a major impediment to any path toward sustainability. Open consideration of the need to rein in growth should not be left to doomers!
        I agree with you Doc Snow that we should develop RE as quickly and expansively as possible. But I argue that doing so is in itself almost certainly incapable of “salvaging current OECD lifestyles” for anything close to the current human population. It is not “debunking” RE to take this position, or to point out the fundamental flaws in work like Jacobson’s that are clearly missing key elements of a complete analysis of our situation. Peddling the fantasy that we can simply transition to RE without structural changes in the political economy is no more helpful than the failure to discuss the limits to growth.
        Whether development of RE can or will enable humans to “open a pathway to a truly sustainable society in the future” is a key question. I suspect I am more pessimistic than you; global population is likely to continue to growing at the same time as the externality of global warming worsens and energy/resource shortages get more pronounced. As you say, “civilization (as we know it, or otherwise) is at serious risk of collapse.”
        The size of the human population is a central component of a sustainable future.

  7. why should Cox bother with the science?, it was not a science show after all and Roberts is not interested in it anyway

    the graph was enough, a picture paints a 1000 words after all and it leaves more time to hammer home the daftness of these bat sh1t crazy conspiracy loons

    These idiots should be relentlessly mocked and derided – lump them in with hoaxers, chemmies, twoothers moonlanding fakers et al

    • the graph was enough

      I’m not sure what you mean by “why .. bother with the science?” because the graph is part of the science and the single most important thing Cox did on that program was show that graph.

      These idiots should be relentlessly mocked and derided


  8. I liked the cheer in the audience when Cox simply said: “I’ve got a graph”. That is a hopeful sign that the population at large is completely fed up with the industrial production of nonsense by the mitigation sceptical movement.

  9. An individual called 1000Frolly has also reacted to Brian Cox’s response to Malcolm Roger’s nonsense with his own bizarre commentary about the Q&A programme, here:

    1000Frolly is a serial denier of anthropogenic global warming (and abuser of climate scientists) who posts dozens of similar videos, either featuring himself, or, more usually, some other AGW denier prattling away.
    I would suggest that both Frolly and his subjects are also “worthy of ridicule” should anyone have a few minutes to spare … .

    • Andy Lee Robinson

      1000frolly is the odious Lord “wormtongue” Monckton, worthy of the finest ridicule one can muster.

      • 1000frolly is Monckton? That seems plausible. I wondered who could be such an enthusastic idiot.

      • So some apparently believe, though I doubt it – their voices are not remotely similar and Frolly never uses the kind of classical phrases of which Monckton is fond. Monckton, however odious, is a more sophisticated denier than Frolly, who is not in his class in any respect!

      • Perhaps someone could have a website where you rate deniers?

      • I don’t think Youtube’s 1000frolly is Monckton but he/she uses similarly twisted arguments

      • Frollywhatsit is a complete timewaster. Suggest being brief – something like “nonsense” – for the sake of lurkers. These guys never give up. Responding enables them.

        No, he’s not sneery enough to be Monckton, and he engages at too low a level. Remember Monckton makes a hefty living from speaking fees and is beyond arrogant along with being batshit.

    • I believe 1000frolly has been thoroughly ridiculed by potholer54 on a number of his videos. Doubt that guy will ever change his mind.

      • Indeed, potholer54’s videos have been a great help. But the aim of refuting people like 1000Frolly in the comments below his video is not to make him change his mind, but to show to anyone who is interested that he is presenting nonsense. That, after all is what Brian Cox was doing on Q&A. Surely we do not still have to be convinced that unopposed nonsense is dangerous?

  10. “Just because there’s not enough renewable to replace fossil fuels now, doesn’t mean there never will be. That’s a foolish implication.”

    Two responses: First, a strong argument can be made that more cheap energy (high EROEI, lots of quantity, density, and portability) would not be “a good thing” because it would allow us to continue to grow in population and thus pass other resource boundaries (like ag production capacity, potable water supply, numerous minerals/metals). Aside from the ethics of displacing an increasing percentage of overall biomass with ourselves and our domesticated flora and fauna, we do not know where the boundaries for our own welfare lie with respect to biodiversity.

    Second, please do not call me foolish on energy issues without showing me where the potential replacements exist, in what quantity, and how they can be put to use by humans. I am not an expert (just a policy analyst, you can easily find me on line), but my extensive reading of many scientists—especially in the areas of thermodynamics, resource economics, and systems analysis—indicates to me that there is nothing available in the near term horizon (decades) that can replace the impending downside of peak oil.

    Some of the relevant authors are: Erwin Schrödinger who first described how life counters entropy to maintain the thermodynamic disequilibrium necessary to sustain itself; Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, who first explored in depth the connection between entropy and economics (e.g.,; Vaclav Smil, who has written much on energy issues, including how long it takes (and how much it costs) to transition from one source of energy to another (c. 4 decades, and “lots”—see; Howard T. Odum, who applied systems analysis to how life makes use of, and transforms, energy (see; Al Bartlett (, who emphasized that our failure to deal with the limits to growth is contrary to problem solving.

    Yes, we need to have “beneficial” policy discussions, but climate change denial is not the only problem; failure to acknowledge that there are limits to growth is also a major impediment. No one can predict the future, but it is clear that we face considerable challenges getting to the end of this century with our ecosystem intact enough to sustain us with our “hi-tech” culture intact. Those of us worried about global warming should be glad that we are unlikely to be able to extract and burn the half of petroleum that’s still in the earth. But we should be frightened about the range of unpleasant futures that have more than minimal odds of coming to pass, including but not limited to climate change.

    For further review if you have time and interest:
    Please read Schramski et al. 2015 ( and please tell me you can find some flaws in their analysis. Moriarty and Honnery 2016 ( cite Schramski 2015, but they stop short of exploring the policy implications of “major energy reductions” that appear to be likely in the near term. Back into the 1700s?

    • Thanks for the bibliography. I hope to followork up with that as I can. And for the record, I agree that we must recognize limits to growth.

      However, I have to remark that while your first argument sounds good at first blush, it seems at odds with today’s demographic reality in that those societies with the easiest, cheapest access to energy are the ones with stable or declining populations, whereas the most energy-constrained societies are exactly the ones for which ‘population explosion’ is still an apt metaphor.

      I must also confess that I view your dismissal of Jacobson with some skepticism. I’ve generally perceived his methodology as pretty painstaking, and apparently PNAS did, too.

      • Regarding Jacobson, please see my other post from a few minutes ago (assuming tamino lets it through ;-).

        Good point on the imbalance of demographic trends between “the West” and “the rest.” However, if you look at a basic table of growth rates by country you can see that global population trends are not that simple. Notice that a number of OECD countries has annual growth exceeding .5%. At current rates, U.S. will have a population of about 600 million by 2100.

        An issue not addressed in your observation or the table is how much of the growth in “developed” countries is from immigration from countries with either rates that double population in a few decades, or that have socio-political breakdowns—look at Syria’s negative rate. However, in an era with an increasingly globalized political-economic system, I don’t believe we’ll find solutions by restricting movements of people. Refugee flows will continue to increase until their causes are addressed.

        I believe it’s pretty well established that the more educated a populace is (especially the women), the lower the birth rate. Not so well accepted is that the imbalance of wealth and development (West:rest, North:South, etc.) is based on a global political economy based in Western Europe and the U.S. that 1) has consistently exploited—extracted wealth from—the rest of the world (e.g.), and 2) is reliant on growth for its own continuation (cf..

        IMO, this last point is key to all discussions of energy, population, global warming, etc., and takes us right back to the main point in my initial comment: the deniers intuitively know that business as usual (BAU) cannot continue, and the on-the-ground implications are too frightening for them to contemplate. Thus denial. I suggest that as a society we’d better start contemplating those implications or we’ll never begin to address the limits to growth issue until it’s way too late to avoid them.

    • Louploup2, I think we ought to praise you for making an intellectually honest distinction between:

      – what can we know (science of climate change, incontrovertible role of greenhouse gases);
      – what ought we to do (emission reductions, how and to what degree? adaptation? societal change and the moral aspects, etc.)

      It is this clear separation of the purely scientific and the by necessity moral, political and even ideological implications that is so lacking among deniers and a considerable part of the conservatives in the US as well as in Australia.

      My impression is that cultural identity plays an important role in this deplorable denialism: embracing the results of climate science would, for many, mean they would have to admit that progressives are ‘right’ (at least to some degree) and that the current societal status quo will have to be changed, in one way or another. An intellectually honest position might even entail a full admission that Climate Science is probably 99% correct (though there are always uncertainties in any science), while still arguing that emission reductions are unlikely to address the problem sufficiently.

      I don’t necessarily agree with that last ‘while’, but it is a distinct possibility which ought to be acknowledge. By the way, I do have a lot of criticisms of the Schramski et al. 2015 paper, mainly because ‘living biomass’ and Net Primary Productivity are actually increasing (!) instead of decreasing, and that is largely due to anthropogenic activity (nitrogen and CO2 enrichment, etc.). You are right though that biodiversity is suffering heavily while total biomass is increasing. Population explosion and habitat destruction are huge problems.

      • I do have a lot of criticisms of the Schramski et al. 2015 paper, mainly because ‘living biomass’ and Net Primary Productivity are actually increasing.

        Thanks for that key point. Can you refer me to any quantifications of the likely increase of either living biomass or NPP? I have seen papers that claim such an increase is happening (I work in forestry quite a bit), but not uniformly, and I have yet to see good global calculations showing an increase. (e.g., publications listed at indicate a decline.) And remember that human appropriation of NPP is also likely increasing; any calculation of NPP needs to include that.

        Alex Kleidon has done some work on global energy fluxes (e.g., but I think that’s a bit different (and I find his work hard to read). But his energy flux diagrams do include HANPP.

  11. The nutjob names is Roberts not Rrogers!!

  12. You need to understand that it is a lot easier to become a senator in Australia than it is in the US. Each Australian state elects 12 senators. In a normal election only 6 of these seats are up for reelection but in a double dissolution such as we had this year all 12 are up for grabs. So to get elected you only require 8.33% of the vote plus 1. A US senator on the other hand needs 50% of the vote in her state to get elected.

    • 12 are up for grabs. So to get elected you only require 8.33% of the vote plus 1.

      Actually you only require 7.69% (1/13th) of the vote plus 1 to get elected. It being impossible to elect more than 12 Senators with such a requirement.

      Also, for those who are interested in the intricacies of the current Australian Senate voting system, you may not even need the above number of votes if some votes are “exhausted”.

      You can read a lot about how Roberts was elected here:

    • methane madness

      My understanding is that this one nation wack job “oxymoronic statement” got all of 80 actual votes, or not even that. I’ve always thought as the evidence becomes concrete the crazy will just magnify.. unfortunatky the rise of Trunp is the checkmate to that horror… still he is a good chance if nuclear winter which is the only way likely to stabilisethis planet.

  13. [Response: Just because there’s not enough renewable to replace fossil fuels now, doesn’t mean there never will be. That’s a foolish implication.

    It would be good to see some numbers here, everything I read says it’s impossible. We don’t have the time, for anything but energy penury with a modicum of renewables. Any you tube lecture by energy specialist Professor Kevin Anderson reinforces that (you know, the guy that doesn’t fly because of the emisions, moved to small house and switched to being a vegetarian, all to lower his emisisons footprint. )

    Then we have energy specialist Professor Susan Krumdieck, below:

    >Business leaders recognise that the biggest risk to their business is energy transition. **The most popular concept of this transition involves a substitution of renewables for fossil fuels and development of elusive tail-pipe technologies like carbon-capture and storage. This concept is comforting and simple. But it is also profoundly wrong. There is no way to achieve an energy transition without completely reworking every aspect of our infrastructure, industry and economy to vastly reduce energy demand. Changing the global economy to nearly eliminate the use of fossil fuels is a “wicked problem” – a problem with no known solution**

    [Dr Susan P Krumdieck is Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Advanced Energy and Material Systems Lab, University of Canterbury, New Zealand](

    Then we have this study published in Ars Technica looking at converting 40% of electricity (not energy) to renewables.

    >The analysis suggests we might not be able to. We’d need 90 percent of the global production of iron in 2011 just to build out renewables at the required pace (iron mostly going to wind and concentrated solar production). We’d need 150 percent of 2011’s aluminum production and a staggering 200 percent of its copper (mostly used in photovoltaics). Could we do this? Probably, but it would be tough for copper. The researchers suggest that it might require tapping into lower-quality ores, which might have additional environmental impacts.

    all the while remembering we have some 4 years to be at zero emissions for 1.5C and less than 15 years for 2C.

    Then we can go over to physicist Tom Murphy’s ‘Do The Math’ blog …

    We’re long past the time we can ‘build our way out of this’

    • I guess there is a difference between “can’t be solved” and “can’t be solved without some determination”. Our consumption is still incredibly wasteful. If we really had to, demand for energy could be slashed. And the amount we cut demand by could be then used to make renewable energy generation capacity. And we could spend less on, say, roads, and more on research.

      Its pretty big stuff, and would change the world. Are we up for it?

  14. I used to leave comments that I had just returned from the Arctic melting campaign — home to return all the hair dryers, heaters and miles of extension cords I had borrowed from neighbors. After a summer of melting the ice with their hot air… Judging by the silence, I realized that people must have believed me.

  15. I surprises me that anyone really bothers to bring up this no-warming stuff again over and over. It’s really clear that they are cherry picking and lying through the teeth. As Richard Alley likes to call it – a “climate zombie” – and he ridicules it pretty well here in this old AGU talk:

    Bad video version though – full AGU talk is available on YT as well. The deniers should be ridiculed as much as possible. One particular sticky zombie I have to battle all the time is the “it’s been warm before”. This is generally coming from people who are “lukewarmers” – so they eventually acknowledge that AGW is real but they say that dinosaurs thrived with 1000ppm so why should there be a problem. The latest xkcd temperature timeline is in that regard a very nice communication tool for people to realize how fast current warming is happening and whatever natural processes made the earth warmer or cooler happened at time scales where migration and even evolution was possible for species to adapt. It’s still hard to get this idea across to many so I am still seeking good facts to bash their myths with around this problem.

  16. I enjoyed The Cox/Rogers episode. Cox did a pretty good job. But nevertheless the thing I thought whilst watching it was that to the average punter this still makes it look like there is a debate. The Climate News people are quite right that this should no longer be happening on news shows. We should be talking about the solutions, not the ideas of loony science-refusniks.

    I was encouraged that the audience laughed at Roberts, and all the other panelists said pretty sensible things, so on balance I think Tamino is right that the benefit from the ridicule outweighs the fact that we are even still having this conversation, in this particular case. But in general, letting deniers onto talk shows at all (like the BBC did with Dellingpole only 2 weeks ago on Question Time), just deflects discussion from things that actually matter, and Climate News are quite right to point this out.

    Ridicule is good, because it leads to just ignoring the nutters eventually. But we could just move straight to the ignoring, indeed this should have happened some time ago. It’s not like we have loads of time to spare in dealing with this…

    • In the case of Roberts, I believe he has the right to some publicity because so many people effectively voted for him. The thing I find annoying is when a publicly funded broadcaster gives load-mouthed ignorant nobodies publicity on one of their media outlets.

    • “We should be talking about the solutions, not the ideas of loony science-refusniks.”

      Indeed. But it’s a tougher conversation. By now the fossilati have done a pretty good job of poison-pilling ‘green energy’ of all types, and on top of that the community of the concerned has serious divisions, including passionate fan clubs of:

      1) nuclear energy;
      2) renewable energy;
      3) simple living.

      Too often, we see the formation of circular firing squads prompted by such passions. We see some of it in this very thread.

      That’s not a reason to avoid the topic, of course. We have to figure this out, and fast.

    • We should be talking about the solutions, not the ideas of loony science-refusniks.

      In an ideal world, we could do this because the loony science-refuseniks would be irrelevant. But here we are in a world where there are countries like Australia that actually rescind the solution of a Carbon tax because the loony science-refuseniks have won the political debate.

      The sad fact is that the loony science-refuseniks are highly relevant politically. Until this changes, talking about the solutions that require government action (which are the most important actions) is academic.

  17. Reblogged this on Don't look now and commented:
    The BBC should let Brian Cox give the same treatment to Lord Nigel Lawson and the sceptics of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The BBC have been reprimanded for giving Lawson too much credence in the past.

  18. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    How far down the rabbit-hole can Malcolm Rogers go?

  19. @ Chis O’Neil

    “I’m not sure what you mean by “why .. bother with the science?” because the graph is part of the science and the single most important thing Cox did on that program was show that graph.”

    because the sad reality is that as soon as you try and explain forcings/feedbacks/climate sensitivity/data homogenisation/the inherent problems with satellite measurements etc etc

    in that entertainment format you will lose

    the graph is enough (it shouldn’t be but it is)

    • @ Tadaa

      OK so you should have said why bother with any science more complicated than the most basic things like the global temperature graph.

      Roberts should be attacked simply for being a global warming denialist. There is no point in moving on to the cause of global warming if someone is not even agreeing about global warming.

  20. It’s Roberts, not Rogers.

  21. Perhaps more concerning are the numerous members of Australia’s House of Reps and Senate that hold views not much different to Roberts but tend to keep such opinions out of public view, obscuring them with outward assurances that they accept that climate change is a real problem combined with equivocation, with vague or contradictory messages and, of course, economic alarmism to counter any actual, effective policy options. Many do this whilst holding much more senior and responsible positions and do so within major political parties that do not ever call them out for being out of line with the “official” policy position of taking the climate problem seriously. I’ve sometimes parsed the actual utterances made and come to suspect the climate “problem” they take so seriously is actually the problem of people taking the climate problem seriously.

  22. “Second, we do not and cannot affect the level of carbon dioxide in air.”
    Of all the stupid claims Roberts made in his maiden speech to parliament this one stands out.
    Why is such a claim not held up to scrutiny ?
    The thing about the denialist elements in the media is that they are far more effective in pursuing their enemies ,while they have a virtual blank cheque to make as many false claims and mistakes as theylike knowing they won’t be held to account by others in the MSM.
    Until someone in the media stands up and start playing them at their own game,and god there’s alot of material to work with, then public understanding of the issue will be unsure and support for action will remain soft.
    Attacking and exposing the denialist media credibility will cause them to pull their heads in as they know it will eventually have commercial consequences.
    It will take courage though as they (Murdoch media primarily) are powerful and will respond with their bag of dirt to such attention.Perhaps this is why no-one has attempted this so far.
    I have digressed, I predict that extreme denailist Roberts will prove to be a big embarrassment to the denialist cause.

    • “Second, we do not and cannot affect the level of carbon dioxide in air.”
      Of all the stupid claims Roberts made in his maiden speech to parliament this one stands out.

      The “good” thing about Roberts is that he’s a hard-core denialist and denies everything. Thus it should be relatively easy to ridicule his claims and he should be able to be an ongoing target for ridicule. So he might actually be useful to a degree.